Apple patent killed in Germany due to video of Steve Jobs’ original iPhone keynote address

Florian Müller reports for FOSS Patents, “Steve Jobs is a named inventor of more than 300 Apple patents, and when he presented the original iPhone in January 2007, he said, ‘boy have we patented it!'”

“But Apple forgot about an important difference between U.S. patent law at the time and the patent laws of the rest of the world, especially Europe. In the United States in the pre-America Invents Act days, innovators had a twelve-month grace period to file for inventions after making an invention, and during those twelve months nothing that anyone would show publicly or publish would be eligible as prior art,” Müller reports. “In Europe, however, there never was such a grace period for patent applications, and even an inventor’s own public demos could always be held against his own patents if they took place before the filing of an application. Even now, with the AIA in force, U.S. patent law has an exception in place for pre-filing disclosure by the inventor.”

Müller reports, “As a result of this difference between jurisdictions, the Munich-based Bundespatentgericht (Federal Patent Court of Germany) today sided with Samsung and Google’s Motorola Mobility in declaring an Apple iPhone patent, EP2059868 on a ‘portable electronic device for photo management,’ invalid within the borders of Germany because a video of the original January 2007 iPhone presentation already showed the famous bounce-back effect in the photo gallery, which is what this patent is all about… The Steve Jobs video was shown in open court but only on a laptop close to the bench. The critical part must be what you can see around 33:40 in the following YouTube video.”

Read more in the full article here.

Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider, “A member of Presiding Judge Vivian Sredl’s panel opened Thursday’s proceedings by outlining the court’s inclination to invalidate the narrowed bounce-back patent based on two cases of prior art. One is a content display property that belongs to AOL/Luigi Lira called ‘Lira,’ while the other is a Microsoft-sponsored study called ‘LaunchTile.'”

“Although Apple’s patent was invalidated, the company’s counsel successfully argued novelty in light of both ‘Lira’ and ‘LaunchTile,’ a win that Mueller said is significant in the grand scheme of the company’s worldwide patent row due to an awarded German utility model covering the same photo bounce-back invention,” Campbell reports. “Unlike European patents, German utility models do have a grace period of six months, meaning the Jobs video plays no role in its validity.”

“Apple could use Thursday’s outcome, specifically the finding that ‘Lira’ and ‘LaunchTile’ don’t invalidate the European photo bounce-back patent, to its advantage in the utility model proceedings,” Campbell reports. “The company can ultimately request the Mannheim court to restart the claim against Samsung and even possibly use that property against other companies until it expires in 2017.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What purpose does it serve to have a law that invalidates and inventor’s work if he shows it to to world? Did he magically not invent it because he showed it? Of course not. Logically, if the prior art is the inventor’s, the patent should not be invalidated. Right? If not, what are we missing?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


  1. The law may be stupid but Samsung and Google’s Motorola Mobility acutely arguing that Apple’s patent should be invalid because Apple thought of it first is just down right scummy!

  2. I find it interesting, that a single event, showing the video, prevents a patent somewhere in the world or all of world. However you would have to patent something in every country, many events if you will, before you show that video, in order to protect the patent.

  3. A patent is secret till the patent office is the first person to see it (aside from private contracted people).

    Any public view is an invitation to openness that thus makes a sceret not a secret.

    Australia holds a similar law.

    A air conditioner engineer made the split systen for friends first and lost billions because he gave the idea away without first patenting it!

    Sorry Apple look first before jumping into traffic! Thats the law!

    So much for secreacy Apple!

  4. A principle of law is “Ignorance of the law is no defense”

    Otherwise there would be no one in Jail.

    Judge I didn’t know that it was illegal for running a red light. Oh, OK your not guilty.
    Judge I didn’t know that it was illegal for smoking dope. Oh, OK your not guilty.
    Judge I didn’t know that it was illegal for murdering someone. Oh, OK your not guilty.
    Judge, Steve Jobs does not know German law. Oh, OK I’ll kiss it better by backdating it.
    Judge, Steve Jobs does not know NZ law. Oh, OK I’ll kiss it better by backdating it.
    Judge, Steve Jobs does not know USA law where Apple paid a fine for backdating shares given to Jobs.

  5. “Because Apple’s legal team is a bunch of idiots.”

    NO because there are about 200 countries in the world ALL with DIFFERENT LAWS.
    Steve Jobs is the idiot because he wanted to show off without the go a head from German, Australian, New Zealand, UK lawyers!

    There’s the problem!

    IN Japan a provisional patent is given 18 months for Japanese companies to copy and improve the patent. Many small USA companies lost out in Japan!

    BUT Samsung’s problems are just starting:

    They thought they could bullsh*t the judges and courts of the world and steal Legal Confidential material and use that knowlegde against Apple.

    Well they’re dead meat — not court except Sth Korea will accept their word!!

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